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CANADA – Built in 2010, Keystone Pipeline System is an oil pipeline within Canada and United States, currently owned by Trans-Canada Corporation. A section of this pipeline was in question back in 2015 as a possible, no go. The former president, Barack Obama stopped the construction of the pipeline.

It was after Donald Trump took office that the project was permitted to continue at a $8 billion cost 1,179-mile project across state lands.

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1. History (2010- Onward)

The National Energy Board accepted Trans-Canada’s proposal of Keystone Pipeline in 2010. However, soon, great opposition was faced by the project of the then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, citing environmental concerns.

In 2011, large number of people gathered outside the White House to protest against this project which included personalities like Margot Kidder, Daryl Hannah and Naomi Klein. Soon after, an agreement was reached to re-route the pipeline.

In 2013, a lawsuit was filed against the Nebraska government and the counter argument produced by the State Department stated that this pipeline will produce lesser emissions as compared to transporting from the Gulf of Mexico by rail.

Despite the oppositions, the White House agreed to approve the bill but concluded that President Barack Obama would use his power to veto the bill; soon after, Obama indeed vetoed the bill.

2. Environmental Concerns

People have shown great resentment towards Keystone XL Pipeline, mainly because this pipeline would mean an increased dependence of the country on oil coming from Canada’s tar sands along with increased consumption of fossil fuels, being the ultimate cause of global warming.

Another inevitable consequence of this pipeline is the fact that many animals and their habitats will be adversely affected due to the construction and oil spills, if any.

“The critically endangered whooping crane, is at risk of flying into new power lines that would be constructed to keep oil pumping through the Keystone XL pipeline”, the National Wildlife Federation has said.

Just in the first year of the operation of the pipeline, fourteen accidents have been reported.

3. Is It a Necessity?

Though this project is capable of creating as many as 28,000 construction jobs (temporary jobs), it has been said that much more permanents jobs can be created by building renewable energy plants.

At this stage, US is experiencing a multitude of power on energy, also called as the ‘oil and gas boom’; it is believed, a large portion of the oil coming from Canada will be exported.

4. Current Status

On October 11th 2017, Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, got together to shut down valves of two pipelines; working under the organization ‘Climate Direct Action’ that originally planned to shut down five of the pipelines.

They argued that their actions must be pardoned as harm done by the pipeline will be of much greater magnitude. “It’s not just a question of a looming threat, it’s a disaster happening right now all over the world,” Johnston said.

References:

  1. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/11/keystone-xl-pipeline-nebraska-decision-spd/

  2. https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/03/keystone-xl-pipeline-approved-four-things-to-know/

  3. https://www.popsci.com/what-is-keystone-xl-pipeline#page-5

  4. https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2017-10-17/minnesota-judge-allows-necessity-defense-in-pipeline-case

  5. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/keystone-xl-pipeline-timeline-1.3950156

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